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Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, James “Jim” Waldron was a hardworking, genuine, and kindhearted man. He worked hard, but he played hard, too, and there was nothing he loved more than being with the ones he loved. Jim made no secret of the fact that his wife was his true love, and together they exemplified what marriage is truly intended to be. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
The 1930s were a time unlike any other in American history as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. The crash of the stock market in October of 1929 made the unemployment rate soar, and things only became more dire when a drought covered our nation’s heartland for two years during this time. Despite the trials around them, Raymond and Leeta Waldron were filled with great excitement as they awaited the birth of their new baby as the beauty of fall began to appear on the horizon in Vicksburg, Michigan, in October of 1932. Their wait was finally over when the baby boy they named James was born on October 10th. He was one of 12 children as he was joined in his family by his 11 siblings including his brothers, Raymond, Paul, Donald, Bobby, and Wayne, and his sisters, Marilyn, Vivian, Lillian, Pauline, Darlene, and Donna. His father worked as a barber while his mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home.
In many ways Jim was a young boy of his generation. He enjoyed going to his father’s barber shop to help him clean up, and he liked picking huckleberries in the swamps in Vicksburg with his mother. An outdoor lover, Jim enjoyed hunting and fishing, and he was also in Boy Scouts. His father wanted to own a car shop with all his kids’ names on it. Like brothers so often do, Jim was known for pulling pranks on his siblings. As a student he attended local schools including Vicksburg. Although he had wanted to play football, Jim needed to work in order to help care for his family since his father died at a young age.
New and exciting changes were in store for Jim when he met the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Virginia, and they met at a movie theater after being introduced through friends in 1951. It was love at first sight, and it has been said that they were attached at the hip from that point forward. Jim even hitchhiked to Kalamazoo to see her all the time, and it didn’t take them long to fall deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Jim and Virginia were married in 1952, marking a new chapter in a love story that would span 57 years. Together they welcomed two children, Suzan and Kim, into their hearts and home. Known for his strong work ethic, Jim supported his family as an electrician. He had taken some classes at KVCC, and although he enjoyed his work he loved spending time with his family.
Throughout his life Jim was one to keep busy, and there were so many things he enjoyed. His faith was a cornerstone in his life, and he was a member of Kalamazoo Free Methodist. After Hurricane Katrina, Jim went on a mission trip where he helped build houses for the people who lost homes. Jim also helped paint the inside of the church. An outdoor lover, he liked hunting and enjoyed going up North to Brower Park as well as fishing for walleye on the Muskegon River. Later in life he also enjoyed taking his grandchildren there. Jim and his wife did quite a bit of traveling together including to Canada, Hawaii and to the Caribbean, which was something they tried to do every year. They also traveled out West, and once they retired they spent a few months down in Florida during the winter. Jim got into woodworking and did a lot of crafts, and he often sold the things he made at craft shows. During their younger years he and Virginia liked both square dancing and round dancing at the Rush Inn in Mattawan every Saturday. Camping was a favorite of Jim’s, too. He was a dog lover who treasured the companionship of his dogs: Matt and Lady, and his greatest love was Sassy since it was Virginia’s dog. Jim liked classic country music, and he knew not to do much in the kitchen since if he did it was totally possible that he would burn the house down!
Hardworking, loyal, and respectful, James “Jim” Waldron was an extraordinary man to know and love. He could be stubborn at times, yet he was also one of the most loving people around. Jim was a man of unwavering faith whose life exemplified what it means to truly serve others. With his kind and inviting personality, he was the sort of person everyone seemed to know. Dearly loved, Jim will be forever missed.
James “Jim” Waldron went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, November 3, 2018. Jim is survived by his children: Suzan (Jim) Bowers of Plainwell and Kim (Lee) Ott of Kalamazoo; grandchildren: Terry (Leah) Bowers, Ryan (Heather) Bowers, Brook (Cory Banks) Dock and Sean (Angie) Dock; and several great-grandchildren. Jim was preceded in death by his parents: Raymond and Leeta Waldron; wife, Virginia Waldron; brothers: Raymond, Paul, Donald, Bobby and Wayne; sisters: Marilyn, Vivian, Lillian, Pauline and Darlene, and Donna. Family will receive friends on Wednesday, November 7 from 4 — 7 p.m. at the McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes, Portage Chapel, 5975 Lovers Lane Portage, MI 49002 (269-344-5600). The service will be held on Thursday, November 8 at 11 am at the Kalamazoo Free Methodist Church in Kalamazoo. Please visit Jim’s page at www.mccowensecord.com where you can archive a photo, and sign the guest book. Those who wish may make contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Military honors by VFW Post 3030.